Why do we judge ourselves solely on our reflection in the mirror? The quote I am focusing on today is something that really moved me when I found it and it altered my perspective on how I visualise my self-worth (for a little while at least!).
I have had a tough few weeks in regards to my “body image” and I have been really struggling to motivate myself to do something about it due to feeling so flat. Although I have been quite happy in general, the thing that is getting me down is my figure and my weight. Since the beginning of January I have been on a change of medication and it’s made me either sleepy or hungry – meaning… I have no energy to exercise and I have put on a fair amount of weight because my appetite has increased. This forms the vicious cycle that I often struggle to get out of… snoozing my alarm due to tiredness -> missing the gym -> telling myself I will go in the evening when I get home from work -> getting lethargic at work -> getting home and missing the gym as I am so exhausted -> sleeping early as I have no energy -> snoozing my alarm due to tiredness. However, this week I have been on a mission to get myself back on track and I am determined to get back to feeling my best.
Most of the time (pretty much always actually) I value my self-worth based on how I feel about my looks and really, as a society, many of us do. But why?! There is so much more to us as people than just looks. We don’t see our personalities like other people do, we don’t get to be on the receiving end of our caring nature and we don’t see our true self in all its glory, all we see is images, whether that is in the mirror, in a photo or reflection. Images can be distorted and changed – like fun mirrors at the fun-fare. All mirrors give you a different image of how you look based on size and lighting so we are never truly looking at ourselves in that way other people see us.
Looks are just one small particle of our overall make-up. There are so many things to which we have more control over, that carry a huge amount more value than looks alone. Whether that be by being a good friend, a good daughter/son, a good work colleague, doing a good deed for a stranger, working out in the gym to make ourselves feel good and not solely just to look ‘perfect’ (whatever that is). Really and truly, us as humans (in our nature) will always strive for more, once we get that, we are looking for the next thing to change and better.
Why can we not just be happy with where we are and what we have right now?
Our looks and body are no different and once we have improved ourselves a tiny bit, we focus on something else to change/improve. Now this is not a bad thing – in fact it’s always good to strive to be the best version of ourselves, but sometimes and for some people this can become a problem and I would say I have been one of these people.
This week I finally got back into the gym for the first time properly in around six months off and I decided that I would force myself straight back into a 5km run (optimistic!!). For someone who used to LOVE running when I was younger, my stamina has decreased a lot in the past few years and I now find it quite tough to do a long distance run (even though 5km is short to some people… I have little legs and that is my excuse!). I struggled on Saturday and instead of being proud of what I had achieved, I instead started to focus on how unfit I have become and that I perhaps didn’t run fast enough. This created a downward spiral. I felt unfit, fat and really quite useless and it affected my entire mood and self-worth for the next couple of days. It played on my mind so much I didn’t want to go back into the gym out of fear of upsetting myself even more and going further into the spiral.
A few days passed and I eventually had my first therapy session with my new psychologist. She was so lovely and calming, I left my first session very positive. We spoke about my background and my past and how we could work together in the future. I told her I would really like to focus on my MDD and work out what causes the sudden drop in my moods. I discussed with her about the dip that I had been feeling the past couple of days and that I didn’t want it to spiral out of control again like before. She urged me to head to the gym when I got home and to try and not focus on the bad things that happened last time and how I unfit I have become, but to use this to improve it next time and see if I can compete with that time and do it quicker. I left my session feeling excited to get in the gym and when I did, I shaved 3 minutes off my second 5km run. Although I nearly threw up my lungs… I felt so energised and happy, I even ended up having a rare night awake past 11pm!!
Tonight I am so excited to get back into the gym and see if I can shave off any more minutes from my run and I am excited to be excited to exercise again. I am so happy I am feeling energised and truly happy and I have woken up today the happiest that I have been in a few weeks. My mind is focused on something other than my “self-worth”. It really does change your whole outlook on life. If you always focus on the things you aren’t, the things you cannot do and the things you do not have control of then you will never be happy and you will never win!
The whole point of this blog today is to encourage people to not compete with anyone else or the mirror, or even beat yourself up over something you cannot control but to just do things that make you happy and challenge yourself to only be the best version of YOU that you can be. Whether that is like me by beating my personal best in the gym or whether that is having a pamper day to make yourself feel good, not only on the outside but also the inside…
Feeling good on the inside and radiating your happiness to other people is the most important thing you can do in life. Appearance catches the eye, we can all agree on that, but it’s good personalities that capture people’s hearts and as long as you have a good heart, you will always be surrounded by good people who love you for everything you are… not just what you look like on the outside.
So always try and remember that little quote above whenever you are feeling down, you aren’t the person that gets to see the real beauty in you… it is everyone else that sees that luxury! You are worth so much more than what that mirror alone tells you.